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Number of attacks on public transport rises to a record high in Berlin, Marseille

The number of sexual offenses in Berlin reached a new high in 2020. Some 4 468 people have been victims of a sexual offense, according to a response to a parliamentary question by MP Marcel Luthe (Free Voters). A leaked study from the south of France, showed a similar rise.

Published: May 31, 2021, 10:27 am

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    According to crime statistics, 4 468 people were victims of sexual offenses in Berlin last year. This is an increase compared to 2019 (4438 victims) and a significant increase compared to 2018 (4040 victims). At least 610 people suffered physical injuries, 15 people were seriously injured and one person killed.

    “While minor offenses are decreasing in Berlin, the so-called victim offenses that cannot be ignored have continued to increase,” Luthe told German newspaper Die Welt. In his opinion, victims of rape in particular should receive special attention from law enforcement. “Protecting citizens from violence and securing their freedom is the central core task of the state, which Berlin obviously does not fulfill,” Luthe added.

    According to the police, there were particularly many attacks in three places. These include Alexanderplatz, where 146 crimes took place, Wedding Zentrum with 86 reported crimes and Tempelhof with 85 crimes. Since crime on Alexanderplatz has increased in recent years, there has been a dedicated police station opened in the middle of the square.

    Of the 3121 suspects identified, 94,9 percent were male, while 35,8 percent did not have German citizenship. According to the Senate Department for Home Affairs, no figures are available for the proportion of suspects with a migration background. This information is not included in the statistics, a Senate spokesman confirmed. The proportion of suspects under the age of 21 was 23,6 percent.

    According to the newspaper, the most significant increase in the statistics for victims of sexual offenses has so far been from 2016 (2669 victims) to 2017 (3654 victims). At that time, sexual criminal law was tightened by introducing the criminal offense of sexual harassment. Since then, not only forced sex with violence or threats of violence has been punishable, but also when a perpetrator disregards the victim’s “recognizable will” which could mean five years imprisonment if ignored.

    In 2020, the security service of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe registered a significant increase in the number of sexual offenses, even though there had been a lower number of visitors on the trains in the past year. Some 150 sexual assaults were counted in 2020.

    Similarly, French confidential documents reportedly showed the explosion of insecurity in stations and trains in the south of France, especially in the metropolitan area of Marseille, located in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, commonly shortened to the PACA region.

    The documents, presented during a round table devoted to transport security on June 25 and 26, 2020, established the rise of  such “acts” noted by the French railway, the SNCF’s security department. They show a general surge in attacks before containment, with an overall increase of 59 percent in 2019, and 23 685 facts recorded in stations, connections and a train and coach service operated by SNCF and regional governments across France, known as the TER. Le Figaro contacted the company, but they did not want to speak to the media.

    The acts mentioned include all attacks and thefts. Attacks against persons are a worrying category, having increased by 40 percent with 2 233 incidents recorded in 2019. Some 1158 insults and threats against people were noted in 2019. Similarly, 259 acts of willful violence (+72 percent) and 97 sexual assaults were also registered (+ 62 percent), that is to say almost one act per day when regrouping these two categories.

    This is without counting thefts with violence or under threat (78 acts in 2019, + 16 percent). For attacks on people in general, SNCF agents constituted 57 percent of the victims. Finally, a category is devoted to the terrorist risk: At least 15 “threats of attack” were reported in 2019, and 276 procedures for abandoned objects, also on the increase.

    The documents also establish a list of the stations most affected by the increase in this delinquency and incivility. With an increase of 156 percent of incidents (921) in 2019, it is the Nice-Saint-Augustin station, near the airport, which has become the most dangerous. Nice station in the city centre, with 6128 incidents (+ 63 percent), is however ahead of Marseille Saint Charles (4273 incidents, + 87 percent). Also worrying, is that train stations previously considered “quieter” also recorded significant increases, such as Cannes (2128 incidents, + 52 percent), Antibes (1271 incidents, + 95 percent) or Mouans-Sartoux (547 incidents, + 123 percent).

    In Marseille in 1999 already 41,8 percent of young people under 18 had at least one immigrant parent (including 23 percent of North African, sub-Saharan or Turkish origin ). And this proportion exceeded 50 percent (including 40 percent of Algerian origin) in 2005 in the first three districts of the city according to French demographer Michèle Tribalat.

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